Sunday, March 2, 2014

Traditional Estonian yellow pea soup

Pea soup is one of the traditional dishes that is eaten at Vastlapäev. Vastlapäev (Shrove Tuesday) is a moving day in the Estonian folk calendar and is the day before the seven week fasting starts. The time of this moving day follows the Christian calendar, however in practice, most Estonians are not giving this day any religious meaning but rather link it to the old folk traditions, predicting the success of the farming crops in the coming season, taking care of the farm animals and women used to go to the pub for a drink. By this time of the year most of the stored meat would have been finished and the last cuts like trotters, tail, ribs were used in cooking.

As the modern time celebration of this day is mostly done outside sledging and skiing and having fun in the snow, a bowl of hot hearty soup is something to look forward to to warm up the body, once back inside.

Traditional Estonian yellow pea soup
250g dry yellow peas

1.5l stock
1 dl pearl barley
1 carrot, cut into small cubes
250g smoked ribs, already cooked
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper
parsley or chives, finely chopped

Soak the peas and barley in water separately in two bowls overnight.
If you have smoked raw ribs, cook stock the night before using the ribs.

Next day, heat the stock, add the rinsed peas, barley and bay leaf and cook at medium-low heat for about 60 minutes until almost soft.
Then add the carrot and ribs and cook until carrots are soft and the meat comes off the bone easily. Cut the meat into small pieces and add back to the soup.
Season with salt and pepper.
Serve hot with parsly or chives

More traditional Vastlapäev dishes:
Estonian bean soup for Vastlapäev